CAPE TOWN, December 22 – The African National Congress in the Western Cape has called for premier Helen Zille to step down in the wake of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report stating that Zille had committed an ethics violation.
“As I’ve said these are serious and damning charges. Zille is not above the Constitution and must be held accountable. We insist that she faces the music in the legislature. Speaker Sharna Fernandez must act as instructed by the public protector and take steps within 30 [days] after having received the public protector’s report to hold Zille accountable,” Western Cape ANC acting chairman Khaya Magaxa said.
Earlier this week, Mkhwebane released a report stating that Zille “appears to have used her position for the benefit of her son and his company, Paper Video”. Zille said on Wednesday she would be taking the report on review to the high court.
Paper Video – co-founded by Zille’s son Paul Maree – is a teaching app that was loaded onto tablets in some schools in the province for free matric revision e-learning workshops in 2014.
Maree was in need of tablets for the app and the provincial education department was in the process of procuring them. Mkhwebane said that Zille “was not directly involved in the procurement of the contract” for the tablets, but that Zille’s own evidence showed that she had communicated with the provincial education department’s senior officials “to intervene in the escalation of the project”.
In her statement on Wednesday, Zille said she rejected “out of hand” that there was “any conflict of interest between my public role as premier, and the fact that I supported my son, a mathematics teacher in Khayelitsha at the time, to borrow equipment of the Western Cape education department in order to run free matric preparation workshops in disadvantages schools”.
She said her son prepared free matric revision programmes that “he wanted to give, at no charge, during the October school holidays to disadvantaged learners”.
The Western Cape Education Department had acquired tablets “precisely for this kind of usage”, said Zille, and her son borrowed 150 tablets and returned them at the end of the holiday.(ANA)